Beginner-Friendly Meditation Styles to Teach
The go-to resource to prepare for your yoga teacher training. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and take your practice to the next level.
Discover Yoga Teacher Training now
It’s estimated that 200 to 500 million people meditate worldwide. The practice continues to gain popularity thanks to how easy it is to get started and how many benefits it brings to your mind, body, and soul.
If you are already practicing yoga, chances are you have practiced meditation at some point. A short meditation after a dynamic yoga class helps you cool down and it feels great.
Learning to teach meditation might be an extension of your own practice, or you might be interested in adding a new layer to your yoga routine. Perhaps you’re looking for something new and want to give meditation teacher training a try.
Regardless of your reasons, you should know that this is a journey to become a better version of yourself. Expect some things to come naturally to you, while others might be quite challenging.
Meditation is an umbrella term for a variety of techniques. The information about them can seem confusing and overwhelming, especially to someone just starting out. That’s why it’s important to explore different meditation styles until you find one that suits you best to practice and teach.
To keep things simple and to help you choose the best meditation style for you to teach, here’s a list of the top beginner-friendly meditation styles.
But first, what’s the difference between teaching meditation and guiding a meditation?
Guiding a meditation is not the same as teaching meditation. Teaching meditation is instructing people on how to meditate. Whereas guiding a mediation is taking people on a journey.
Many students wish to lead meditations (regardless of the style they learn). And sometimes they realize that the course they have chosen teaches more history and culture than how to present meditation classes.
That’s why it’s extremely important to carefully read the description of the meditation teacher training course and ask questions so that you get exactly what you need out of it.
Most often, guided meditation is the starting point to a meditation practice. As the name suggests, guided meditation is done under the guidance of a teacher or meditation facilitator so that students can get the best of their practice.
During the meditation teacher training course, you will learn how to guide the students through a particular meditation technique, using relaxing imagery, visualizations, or sounds to help them focus.
Once you complete the course, you can organize a retreat, hold an online class, or record the mediation for an app or post it online.
Perhaps the most common form of meditation in the West, mindfulness meditation has its roots in Buddhist teachings and has influenced other meditation practices, such as Vipassana.
Mindfulness teaches practitioners to be aware of everything within them and outside of them. Or, in other words, to be fully present in the here and now, without getting distracted by thoughts of the past or future.
You simply observe the thoughts and sensations passing through your mind and body, without judgment or extreme emotion. Every time you get distracted by a thought, you just let it go.
While mindfulness meditation is all about finding a quiet and comfortable place and allowing yourself to concentrate on your breathing, during your meditation teacher training course you’ll also learn the theory, concepts, and philosophy of meditation.
The appeal of mindfulness meditation stems from its very open nature – it can be done anywhere, can be practiced while doing any other activity, and it is not necessary to believe in a specific religion or spiritual belief.
Metta Meditation (or Loving-Kindness)
Another form of Buddhist meditation, this technique focuses on cultivating positive energy and kindness towards all beings, including yourself.
It can be practiced anywhere, but it’s more common to be done while sitting in a comfortable position.
Start by taking a few deep breaths and open your mind to receive loving-kindness. Then, proceed by directing love and kindness towards others and the world. Do this by repeating positive phrases, slowly but steadily, such as “May I be happy”, “May I be well”, “May I be safe”, or “May I be peaceful and at ease”.
During a meditation teacher training course, you’ll learn how to lead loving-kindness meditation, as well as learn the science behind it and its main practices.
It’s a common misconception that to meditate you’d have to sit in silence, continuously trying to “quiet the monkey mind”. Thankfully, for the more fidgety of practitioners, you can meditate while moving, too.
Examples of moving meditation include Qigong, Tai Chi, walking, hiking, and even dancing.
In walking meditation, you let the movement of the body guide you, focusing your attention on the sensations in the body and mind.
Derived from Zen Buddhism, this meditation style can be very rewarding and relaxing. It is particularly appealing to people who find it difficult to sit still, are very active, and can concentrate better while moving.
During a walking meditation teacher training course, you’ll learn the art of walking and how to use of the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness.
Zen meditation, or Zazen, has its origins in Buddhism. It is extremely simple and precise in practice. Zazen means “seated Zen” or “seated meditation”, where the idea is to just sit and observe without any thoughts, judgments, or discrimination.
While Zen meditation is recommended for beginners, learning how to teach it isn’t that easy. You’ll be required to have some experience practicing it yourself before you enroll in a course. There’s an instruction phase during which you’ll learn the concepts and philosophy and then you’ll start to teach. In most cases, teaching means leading Zen meditations.
This type of meditation pays quite a bit of attention to the way you sit, with many recommending the half-lotus or full-lotus sitting position, although other ways of sitting are acceptable so long as you maintain an upright body posture and your chin tucked slightly in.
The practitioner pays attention to the breath, particularly how it moves in and out of the belly, with the eyes open in a downcast gaze. Simply put, Zen meditation is about “just being”.
Photo credit: Joni Sturgill with Healthy Body Peaceful Soul
The oldest Buddhist meditation practice, Vipassana is also known as “insight meditation”. The practitioners learn to see things in their original nature or “as they really are”.
In Vipassana, practitioners sit in silence and are asked to be a spectator of the world and themselves. The goal of Vipassana is non-reaction – that is, non-reaction towards any experiences that others or we ourselves might experience, whether good or bad.
To teach Vipassana meditation, you first need to complete several courses yourself. You are also required to show dedication in your practice: daily meditation and actively learning about Vipassana. Then, you are considered an “old student” and may proceed with offering your service to others but only if you are asked.
If focusing on the breath is not something you look forward to, you can still meditate. For some people, it’s easier to focus on a word.
In meditation, that’s a mantra and can be spoken, chanted, whispered, or repeated in the mind.
Mantra meditation is a more structured style in which the practitioner focuses on a mantra (a syllable, word, or phrase) to clear the mind. The mantra is repeated to help set intentions, boost awareness, and improve concentration. The subtle vibrations associate with repeating a mantra can help you enter a deep state of meditation and encourage positive change.
A mantra meditation teacher course will prepare you to teach mantra-related practices. As part of the course, you’ll learn basic Sanskrit for proper pronunciation, the benefits of mantra meditation, as well as to teach and apply it in yoga chants and various therapies.
Are you looking to enhance your yoga practice or want to start teaching but you aren’t able to travel right now? Join an online yoga teacher training course and study from the comfort and safety of your home.